Detroit's high rate of shootings often scars innocent children

DETROIT - Detroit has one of the highest rates of fatal and nonfatal shootings in the country. The sheer number of shootings means that dozens of kids fall victim to nonfatal shootings.

While the number of nonfatal shootings in the city has declined in recent years, Detroit still has one of the highest rates in the country compared to other large cities, according to data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

There were 142 nonfatal shootings per 100,000 people in Detroit in 2016. That dropped from 153 in 2015.

The sheer number of incidents is staggering: 1,052 people injured by gunfire in 2014, 1,034 in 2015 and 957 last year. A fraction of those involve children.

“When you talk about a child being shot that just really significantly raises the public consciousness that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.

He said people aren't targeting young children.

“It’s this random gun violence, where someone randomly shoots into a house, maybe they’ve targeted the house. … It’s that kind of violence where children are getting caught up.”

At least 26% of the city’s total shootings in 2016 were argument-related, according to Detroit Police Media Relations Director Michael Woody. Of the 957 shootings that year, 254 stemmed from arguments, and 443 occurred for unknown reasons, he said.

Less than 6% of all nonfatal shooting victims are under age 17. In 2014, 49 kids under age 17 suffered nonfatal shootings in Detroit, according to police. That number grew to 61 in 2015 before falling to 43 in 2016, police said.

In both 2014 and 2015, six children were killed by bullets in Detroit, some as young as 3, according to city homicide statistics. Last year, eight kids were shot to death.  And this year, two teens under 17 have been killed by gunfire, police said.

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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